“Just Because” — Credibility, Choose Your Words Carefully, by Marc Petock

MarcPetock “Just Because” — by Marc Petock Vice President Marketing, Lynxspring. In today’s business world and especially in our industry, we are all in sales even though we may not have “sales” as part of our titles or imprinted on our business cards. I recently came across an article in INC magazine by Eric Holtzclaw that got me to thinking about sales and the sales pitch. The article entitled “One Word That Kills Your Credibility” reads as follows:

“I have watched more salespeople and companies pitch their ideas over the years than I care to count. And during thousands of interviews with consumers about how they use different products and services and respond to marketing messages, I have honed the craft of ferreting out telltale signs of lies and omissions.

From that experience, I am going to let you in on a little secret about a word you should stop using immediately. It is “actually.”

For the experienced listener, “actually” is a dead giveaway of an area that at the least needs to be further investigated, and may point at a deception.

Let me explain.  When you use the word “actually” properly, you are comparing two thoughts and providing clarification. For example: Question: “Did you go to the store for milk?” Answer: “Actually, I stopped at a gas station.”

In this example, it is easy to see why someone might use the word. The original question suggested that you went to the store, but you might not think that a gas station is really a store. In your mind, you are comparing and justifying the decision to stop at a gas station rather than a grocery store.

Back to the business setting: Extra words used in a sales presentation or investor pitch are unnecessary. They subconsciously point listeners to question if there’s more unspoken information. The word “actually” serves as a spoken pause, giving the presenter’s brain time to catch up and decide how to resolve the conflict in their mind between the question asked and reality.

A common example of how this plays out in a sales presentation or investor pitch: Question: “How many customers are using the platform?” Answer: “We actually have over 100 companies.”

The word “actually” isn’t important to the answer.  It’s extra information that makes the listener curious as to why the word was added. An astute investor or customer will follow up with a request to see a customer list or to get a customer referral.

In a customer interview, the customer may use the word as a way to please the person asking the question: Question: “Do you use this product?” Answer: ”Actually, I have.”

To the experienced listener, this answer actually (get it?) means, “No, I have never used it” or “I used it once and it didn’t do what I expected or needed.”  An appropriate follow-up is to ask for a specific example or time that the function was used.

Perfecting your pitch requires attention to what you say and removing anything that distracts them from your primary message.  As a listener, keying in on the word “actually” can clue you in to the subconscious and give you a competitive edge”.

After reading the article, I asked myself, what is another word or phrase that comes to mind as a credibility killer if I was sitting behind the desk listening to a sales pitch? I didn’t have to think too long. While I thought of several, there was one that stood out, however it can be referenced in two ways. The first reference is “trust me” — this reminds me of nothing more than the famous used car sales pitch, “trust me, this car was owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sunday”. And the other is “to be honest”—here, by having to mention honest only makes the person sound dishonest and leads one to think that what they have said all along has not been honest.

I am sure you have a few credibility killers of your own that come to mind. What are they? Share them with ControlTrends.

A Peek at Belimo’s New America’s Headquarters… WOW! Mt. Belimo to Open October, 2014

BelimoControlTrends reporting from Danbury, Connecticut: During a recent business trip to the Connecticut and Rhode Island areas, I made a short detour to take a look at the new Belimo Headquarters. As I departed the existing Belimo facility, which is impressive in its own right, I realized that my curiosity about Belimo’s new manufacturing facility began two years ago, when Belimo held their press conference April 12, 2012 and Belimo’s Chief Financial Officer, John Coppola, revealed the plans to construct a 200,000-square-foot building to replace the 86,000-square-foot manufacturing facility Old Ridgebury Road.

Well, my high expectations were fully met. The new Belimo facility is an impressive, ultlra-modern, and simply a massive facility that overlooks the peaceful landscape of the neighboring areas. As the Belimo manufacturing facility nears its grand opening, Belimo moves closer to releasing another powerful measure of brand-building, as well as undoubtedly securing their unparalleled future success — and growth.

Some interesting information about the color Orange:
* Physically, the color orange stimulates activity, appetite and our ability to socialize.
* Orange is a color that really stands out, even at a distance, and invites attention.
* The word orange comes from the Sanskrit word naranga. In the early Christian church, orange was a symbol of glory and fruits of the earth. It was also called the wisdom ray.
* In the practice of Feng Shui, colors hold great significance, and orange represents fire.
* Orange helps us focus our powers of concentration, and it’s also the color that’s credited with assisting us in organizing our thoughts and our things.
* An orange vehicle says you are fun loving and trendy.
* Frank Sinatra once said, “Orange is the happiest of colors.”

Ken Sinclair’s April Theme for Automated Buildings — Keeping the Cloud Open

Ken Sinclair Read about the very serious concerns that automatedbuildings.com Ken Sinclair raises regarding the openness of the CLOUD and what the cloud giants may be proposing — forewarning us of how the proprietary cloud noose knot is tied. Excellent articles by John Petze, Therese Sullivan, Toby Considine, Jim Sinopoli, and many more.

Excerpt of Ken’s article: April theme is Keeping the Cloud Open. This issue’s content is one of the first attempts at describing what redefining “Open” in the Cloud might mean. If we are not clear on Keeping the Cloud Open there is a dark side, a concern of an evolving trend towards Proprietary Cloud. I grew up in the industry during the DDC revolution and saw the floundering of the early proprietary DDC systems that evolved quickly with amazing capabilities, but rapidly became obsolete and impossible to maintain. Several early DDC system companies failed and those that succeeded were liberated with the development of open protocols with total project integration and interaction with several vendors.

johnpetzeUnderstanding The Facets of “OPEN” by John Petze, Skyfoundry.

Therese_Face1IoT Opens to Mobile Messaging Standards by Therese Sullivan, www.buildingcontext.me

toby2013 Getting Over the Internet of Things by Toby Considine

Public Privacy — An Oxymoron Worthy of Consideration

(Image by imaginary SIRE)

This ControlTrends post takes a small step towards addressing the enormous subject of Public Privacy as it pertains to Big Data. The boundless use and proliferation of Big Data is now everywhere at once — for every conceivable purpose from medical diagnoses and corresponding treatment plans, advertising networks, data brokers, insurance providers, smart grid operators and energy usage managers (our insertion point to this subject), public and private traffic management, border control, access to employment, criminal investigations and sentencing, justice authorities, scientists, the granting of social welfare, and combating social security fraud.

The benefits are all too obvious. But what next? IBM has introduced “autonomic computing,” suggesting that autonomous computing systems will adapt our external environment just like the autonomic nervous system ‘runs’ our internal environment: in ways we have no conscious access, and over which we have no direct control (Mireille Hildebrandt). Imagine not being able to control the behavior solutions that Big Data proposes or decides. That’s pretty sci-fi?

Let the tough questions begin: Does the refined knowledge at the aggregate level make invisible infringements on our rights to privacy? Are we assured that our data is protected? Are we safe from prohibited discrimination? How is it possible to contest these invasions? And where do our rights begin and end? Fortunately, two very good sources appear for deeper development.

IversityThe first was the free on-line Iversity course “Public Privacy: Cyber Security and Human Rights” taught by Professor Dr. Anja Mihr that really drills deep into the recent public debate on data protection, privacy infringements, and the connection between cyber security and human rights.

smartgrid.govThe second source of was the good old DOE’s Update on the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Data Privacy in which the DOE addresses Privacy for Data Enabled by Smart Grid Technologies. Exerpt from the Multistakeholder Process to develop Voluntary Code of Conduct: Throughout the U.S., intelligence is being added to the grid through the deployment of advanced technologies and grid modernization efforts. This increased intelligence has led to concerns regarding consumer data access and the privacy of consumer energy consumption data. Historically, utilities have taken very seriously the job of protecting customers’ privacy, and privacy and security protections will remain fundamental objectives. However, with the new technologies being deployed today, these fundamental protections warrant new attention. Consumers must feel secure that their data will be protected and treated responsibly. Therefore, it is important that stakeholders on all sides of the privacy debate work together to address concerns and coordinate activities. Source: www.smartgrid.gov

The interest level of the ControlTrends Community will drive further developments and posts. All comments are welcome!

IRS Virtual Currency Guidance & March 26th Update — In Case You Were Wondering

irs_imageOn a not too distant ControlTalk NOW, the subject of virtual currency and Bitcoin as a virtual payment, brought up some interesting dialogue, which left us speculating on the future impact it may make to our industry, if any impact at all. In either case, for the benefit of our ControlTrends Community, here is the latest information from the IRS concerning virtual currency:

IRS Virtual Currency Guidance: Virtual Currency Is Treated as Property for U.S. Federal Tax Purposes; General Rules for Property Transactions Apply. WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today issued a notice providing answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on virtual currency, such as Bitcoin. These FAQs provide basic information on the U.S. federal tax implications of transactions in, or transactions that use, virtual currency.

In some environments, virtual currency operates like “real” currency — i.e., the coin and paper money of the United States or of any other country that is designated as legal tender, circulates, and is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance — but it does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction.

The notice provides that virtual currency is treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes. General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency. Among other things, this means that:
• Wages paid to employees using virtual currency are taxable to the employee, must be reported by an employer on a Form W-2, and are subject to federal income tax withholding and payroll taxes.
• Payments using virtual currency made to independent contractors and other service providers are taxable and self-employment tax rules generally apply. Normally, payers must issue Form 1099.
• The character of gain or loss from the sale or exchange of virtual currency depends on whether the virtual currency is a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.
• A payment made using virtual currency is subject to information reporting to the same extent as any other payment made in property.

Further details, including a set of 16 questions and answers, are in Notice 2014-21, posted today on IRS.gov.

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Don’t Miss! Global Visionaries Featured at Town Hall Meeting, April 1, 2014

2014EnergySummit*NEW* CLOSING TOWN HALL MEETING April 1, 4:30-5:30 p.m. The Closing Town Hall Meeting of the 2014 Building Energy Summit will feature an open mic discussion with The Energy Gang and international visionaries Jigar Shah, Stephen Lacey, Katherine Hamilton, John Picard, and Roger Frechette.

What will the coming decades bring for energy efficient buildings? In this town hall discussion, we’ll take a deep look at cutting edge design, technology integration, environmental impact, and the global financial benefits of energy efficiency in buildings. The conversation will be led by The Energy Gang, a group of energy experts who produce a weekly podcast for GreenTech Media dissecting clean tech industry news. Joining the conversation will be sustainable design experts John Picard and Roger Frechette, and Darlene Pope, President of CoR Advisors, who will offer big ideas on the exciting future of intelligent, high-performance, green buildings.

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Therese Sullivan on the SensorWeb: Is ‘Finding Stuff’ the Killer App that Will Drive IoT adoption in Buildings?

Therese.001 Therese Sullivan, Buildingcontext.me highlights the brands and people that are succeeding at marketing to buildings professionals via digital media. In this article Therese keeps the ControlTrends Community on top of the SensorWeb developments.

We just took one big step toward the Sensor Web—a concept that combines sensors, Geographical Information Science (GIS) and mobile telecom’s location-based services (LBS). The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) just approved the OGC Sensor Model Language (SensorML) 2.0 Encoding Standard. Now all sensors (“things that measure”), actuators (“things that act”), and processors (“things that calculate”) have a common way to communicate their name and location. The SensorWeb will enable the Internet of Things, augmented reality, and potentially much easier building control and facility management. That is, no more lifting ceiling tiles to read physical labels to figure out where all the assets attached to an Internet-connected building automation network reside, what they are called on blue prints and schematics, and how they connect to the rest of the system. Apple iPhones are already equipped with iBeacon locators. We’re not far from the day when there will be mobile phone apps that enable you to point to an asset, then get a meaningful answer back from the cloud about its exact identity and any service needs.

SensorML is part of the OGC’s Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) suite of standards already used for satellite mission planning, monitoring and alerting, and intelligent cities and buildings around the world. I wrote more about mobile location services and semantic web efforts aimed at BACnet here. Note, the period for public comment on the OGC’s IndoorGML Standard will close on March 21st.

Visit buildingcontext.me for more content marketing to buildings pro’s!

Realcomm Advisory Update: SPRINT Real Estate & CBRE Embrace Mobility to Set High Innovation Benchmark

innovation programSPRINT Real Estate & CBRE Embrace Mobility to Set High Innovation Benchmark. Excerpted from a Realcomm Staff Writer report.

The Sprint real estate group together with CBRE created an innovation program focusing on mobile technologies. The goal was to create a formal structure where leading ideas could be explored, vetted, implemented and evaluated. Now, the program is in full swing and impacting almost every aspect of real estate operations. Asset management, alarm monitoring, electronic access, fleet tracking and water leak detection are just some of the innovative, technology-based solutions Sprint has developed. All of these technologies have the potential to enhance utilization, increase efficiency, save costs and provide a greener environment. Read on to learn more about the consummate leading edge mobile technologies for the industry.

Openness and Connectivity are not the Same Thing: Stacey Higginbotham’s “A Tale of Two Thermostats”

Thanks to Marc Petock for bringing this article from Gigaom’s Stacey Higginbotham’s to the ControlTrends Community’s attention. Not only does Stacey share some updated information and insight into the Ecobee and Nest thermostats, but she explains that openness and connectivity are not the same thing. These are two trends we are following very carefully. Are openness and connectivity traveling the same route of the VHS versus Beta video format war? Another must read is Stacey’s “United States of Connectedness: What works for the Internet of things.

A tale of two thermostats: What Nest and Ecobee teach us about connected thermostats. By Stacey Higginbotham. Summary: Connected devices need to connect to more than just the internet, they need to connect to each other. And while an open API can help, popularity is more likely to result in that next level of connectivity.

ecobeeEcobee smart thermostat: Ecobee has sold a little less than 500,000 connected thermostats since its founding in 2007 according to its CEO Stuart Lombard. The Canadian company’s thermostats ar connected, use algorithms that can help you save on your monthly utility bills and have open APIs. The company itself has a vision of the future that involves more sensors and smarter computers in the cloud, not necessarily on the wall. You probably haven’t heard of it.

Nest_FeatureOn the other hand is Nest, a newer maker of connected thermostats and a company that everyone aspires to be like when it comes to the connected home. While there are no definite numbers available, the company, which was purchased by Google in February for $3.2 billion, has sold an estimated 1 million thermostats. They are beautiful blue half circles easily noticed on the walls of people’s homes. They are connected via multiple radios, learn about your habits and adjust your temperature accordingly. You probably know it exists, even if you don’t care at all about the internet of things.

In pondering these two devices you can learn a lot about the internet of things and how consumers will gravitate to connected products and services. The Nest has three attributes that the average thermostat doesn’t: it’s connected, it learns and it’s beautiful. And the combination of added functionality and the cool factor are what has helped it become the standard of success for the internet of things. The learning is important to delivering a good experience, but it’s not something most consumers care about.

What has surprised me though is that most consumers don’t care about openness. I purchased an Ecobee last summer over the Nest because I’m obsessed with open APIs and the ability to tie my gadgets together. In fact, all the way back in 2012 when thinking about the criteria I have for whether or not to shell out money for a connected device the size of the ecosystem was one of my three criteria. What I didn’t count on or think about what that openness does not always equate to the size or quality of a devices’ ecosystem.

Nest: So while not open, the Nest is supported by an array of connected device platforms in an ad hoc manner, while those same companies (and others) wait for the official API. Meanwhile, the Ecobee open API and support languishes. I’ve literally been waiting months for SmartThings to deliver on the Ecobee support (it first said it would support Ecobee back in July). Meanwhile, Lombard explains that Ecobee would love to integrate with If This Then That, but that the platform is focused on more popular products that have a large number of users.

That makes sense. Integrating an API isn’t as simple as dropping some code into an app when it comes to controlling connected devices. And with more and more connected devices launching every day figuring out where to focus integration efforts is a challenge for companies that are trying to build bridges across different devices and home automation products. So I’m stuck clutching my one of 500,000 Ecobees hoping that in its next iteration, or after the Nest acquisition, that it gains enough mind share with consumers and developers to make it worth supporting.

And in the meantime I’m reminded that alone, my connected thermostat is cool and adds more convenience to my life, but that it’s going to take the existence of other products to elevate it from connected to awesome.